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What is the political purpose of holding the G7 summit in Hiroshima?
In Hiroshima 78 years ago, the US military forces committed a horrific crime against humanity with indiscriminate mass killing caused by atomic bombing. Why has the Japanese government chosen Hiroshima as the city to host the G7 summit in May next year?
Hiroshima was chosen as host city for the G8 Lower House speakers’ meeting in September 2008 and for the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in April 2016. In addition, in May 2016, President Barack Obama visited the Peace Park, supposedly to console the spirits of the victims of the atomic bombing. In each case, however, the visit ended up as a mere political show attended by representatives of the US government and seven or eight other countries, including the UK and Canada, who had participated in the Manhattan Project for developing atomic bombs during the Asia-Pacific War.
Obama and Abe Shinzō (then Japan’s Prime Minister) closely collaborated in May 2016 to politically exploit the spirits of the nuclear holocaust victims of Hiroshima in order to strengthen the US–Japan military alliance. They did so without offering any apology to the victims of war crimes committed by each nation during the war. In Japan’s case, war crimes included numerous atrocities that the Japanese Imperial Forces committed against many Chinese and other Asians in addition to the Allied soldiers. In the US case, these included extensive fire and atomic bombings of many cities and towns throughout the Japanese Archipelago.
Next year, Hiroshima will again be used for deceptive and corrupt political purposes. The outcome of the G7 summit meeting is already clear from the outset: citizens will be manipulated by empty political sham. The Japanese government continues to deceive its citizens with a fake promise that Japan is working hard for ultimate nuclear abolition, while touting itself as the only country to have suffered in the atomic bombing. In reality, Japan continues to rely entirely on the extended nuclear deterrence of the US. The fact that Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio chose the city of Hiroshima, his constituency, for the G7 summit meeting is nothing more than a political scheme to display the pretence of an anti-nuclear stance. By emphasising the nuclear threat from Russia, China and North Korea, the Kishida government may be trying to justify nuclear deterrence, to allow this pretext to deeply permeate the public mind without the people’s awareness.
The primary objective of the G7 summit is to convey a lie to the world: that the spirits of the A-bomb victims in Hiroshima of the self-proclaimed “International City of Peace and Culture” have strongly endorsed the G7 in its official statement issued by the summit held in Hiroshima.
In the face of the 1973 oil crisis that resulted in world recession, a group of seven powerful nations, the G7, was established to determine a common political and economic policy and cooperate with each other to protect and expand their own economic interests. Accordingly, since its inception, the G7 has continued its policy of influencing and arbitrarily intervening in important world events by rejecting or ignoring decisions taken in the United Nations (UN) arena, when those decisions are inconvenient for them to adopt. It must therefore understand that the G7 is, in fact, the one with the greatest responsibility for creating various crises, such as global warming and other environmental destruction, soaring oil prices, financial crises, food and agricultural crises, war and poverty – and yet it is completely incapable of solving these problems.
The Kishida administration, however, has largely inherited the policies of the Abe administration and is increasingly strengthening its stand to fully integrate Japan into G7 decisions, especially on the military front.
G7, NATO and the historical background to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine
Historically, the G7 (US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada plus the European Union, except for Canada), were the six countries with the most powerful military, up until the first half of the 20th century. Five of these countries (US, UK, Germany, France and Japan) still account for the top ten annual military expenditures in the world, with Japan as number nine. Furthermore, the US, Britain and France are nuclear-weapon states, and six countries (excluding Japan) are members of NATO. The G7 and NATO therefore overlap closely, and needless to say, the US in charge of both. In other words, the key role of the G7 and NATO is to support and promote Pax Americana, which is “maintaining the peace under the U.S global domination.”
Ever since 1999, NATO’s military activities have expanded their sphere of action far beyond the NATO member regions, mainly to Western Europe, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and other parts of the world, with significant funds invested in the development and purchase of various new weapons. This expansion of NATO’s scope of action and activities has been carried out in close cooperation with the Bush administration’s “war on terror” which began, inter alia, with the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
In line with their policy of expansion into Eastern Europe, the US and NATO have steadily pursued a strategy of de facto integration with the Ukrainian military under NATO control by providing state-of-the-art weapons to Ukraine in addition to military training and joint exercises since 2014. To this backdrop must be added the annexation of Crimea by the Putin regime in 2014, following the change of government in the Ukrainian popular uprising and the subsequent civil war in the eastern Donbass region. It should not be forgotten that these Russian, NATO and G7 activities are among the factors that led to the start of Russia’s outrageous war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022.
Put simply, on the one hand is the provocative hegemonic expansionism of the US towards Eastern Europe; on the other is Putin’s ambition to revive the Russian empire, with the forced reintegration of Ukraine, under the mistaken belief that a split within NATO would occur. The root of this imperialist conflict between the two sides needs to be exposed.
As a result of this war of aggression, countless Ukrainian people as well as Russian people who were sent to war have become victims, and millions of African and Asian people who have lost access to food as a result of the war are at risk of starvation. Moreover, if the war drags on while the situation deteriorates further, the greatest danger of all could be the use of small (the so-called tactical) nuclear weapons. Nuclear power plants have repeatedly been the target of military attacks; therefore, a major nuclear accident could occur at any time. The only way out of the current situation is through a mutually compromised end to the war which is negotiated by global anti-war and peace movements and diplomacy, not just by the warring parties.
NATO’s Indo-Pacific expansion plan to contain China and Russia, and Japan’s policy
Against this backdrop, following the recent G7 summit in Germany, a NATO conference was held in Madrid, Spain, on 29 to 30 June. Here, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea from the Pacific region were invited as major NATO partner countries. This fact shows that NATO’s “new strategic concept” is clearly a globalisation strategy to enclose and contain China, Russia and North Korea with strong military power from both the European and Indo-Pacific sides, based on military cooperation with the so-called free and democratic countries of the Indo-Pacific region. Moreover, the new strategic concept includes advanced technology, cyberspace and even outer space.
This NATO concept is already strongly reflected in the recent Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest biennial naval exercise, which began on 29 June and lasted until 4 August this year. More than 25,000 troops from 26 countries including Japan, 38 battleships, 170 aircraft and four submarines took part, while ground forces from a further nine countries conducted amphibious vehicle landing exercises. Of these 26 participating countries, six (excluding Italy) are members of the G7; six (the US, UK, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada) are NATO member states; five (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Colombia) are NATO’s global partners. Indeed, RIMPAC is a global partner of NATO. In other words, 42 per cent of the RIMPAC countries are closely linked to NATO.
The purpose of the US-led RIMPAC was to intimidate China, North Korea and even Russia by conducting military exercises by US-led alliance forces in anticipation of war with China and North Korea. This intimidation will only exacerbate tensions with China and North Korea, which are already engaged in equally hostile military operations in response to the extensive and active US military operations in the Indo-Pacific region, and will not help to ease tensions at all. Indeed, for four days from 7 to 10 August, three days after the end of RIMPAC, China conducted large-scale military exercises using a total of 66 fighter/bomber aircraft and 14 naval vessels in the six sea–air areas surrounding Taiwan to coincide with the visit of US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Furthermore, on 4 August, China launched 11 ballistic missiles into the waters surrounding Taiwan in a truly reckless demonstration. This demonstrates that the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is far more critical than during the Cold War.
In this context, NATO appreciated the Japanese (Abe administration) government’s acceptance of the right to collective defence in 2014, which clearly violates Japan’s Constitution. In relation to Japan’s exercise of the right to collective defence, NATO also positively evaluated the “refit” of the Izumo (which used to be known as a “helicopter-carrying destroyer”) to enable it to take off and land F-35B stealth multi-purpose fighter aircraft in 2020 (i.e. to become a de facto “aircraft carrier”). In this way, the active participation of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces (SDF) in collective military activities with NATO–US forces and their allies is steadily being promoted. One of Prime Minister Kishida’s pledges, to “enhance our capability of attacking enemy territory,” is also being deceptively pursued as a strategy for integration into NATO under the faulty logic of self-defence, even though everyone clearly understands that this is unconstitutional.
Kishida’s cabinet directly inherited and promotes the blatant invalidation of the Constitution by Abe’s cabinet. At a meeting with US President Joe Biden in May, Kishida promised a significant increase in the defence budget (from 1% to 2% of GDP to the same level as NATO countries). If this plan is implemented, Japan’s military budget will amount to approximately 11.3 trillion yen, allowing for an immediate increase of approximately 5.1 trillion yen in the current year. This increase would ironically ensure that Japan – with its Article 9 of the Constitution, the clause on the renunciation of war – would become the world’s third largest military power after the US and China. Moreover, a large part of the amount will be earmarked for the purchase of various extremely expensive weapons from the US.
In reality, the only way to prepare such a huge budget on short notice is through tax revenues. Therefore, it will be necessary to raise the consumption tax from the current 10% to at least 12%, which will place a heavy burden on every single citizen, and it is obvious that the lives of many ordinary citizens, especially single-mother families and the elderly who are already suffering from rising daily living costs, will become even more difficult.
As a result of the disastrous House of Councillors election for opposition parties on 10 July, the above-mentioned risks of Japan becoming a military power could lead to further impoverishment of the general population, more pressure on constitutional amendment, further instability in the East Asian region and the outbreak of military conflicts. It means that Japan is now at a critical juncture in its history.
Rally the power of citizens to criticise the G7 Hiroshima summit!
The G7 summit scheduled to be held in Hiroshima in May next year is therefore expected to reinforce the US/NATO policy of integrating the military power of Indo-Pacific countries – especially the G7 member Japan, as well as South Korea and Australia – into the overall military power of NATO. This power will be used as much as possible for NATO’s so-called new strategic concept of containment of China, Russia and North Korea. Undoubtedly, nuclear deterrence will remain an important element of this new strategic concept.
As we saw at the beginning of this proposal, it is unimaginable that the countries participating in the G7 summit in Hiroshima will discuss reducing nuclear weapons. But if we sit idly by and ignore this situation, we neglect our responsibility as citizens of Hiroshima, of Japan, and our responsibility as conscientious world citizens.
Therefore, we propose to hold a major citizens’ rally in Hiroshima City on 13–14 May 2023, one week before the G7 summit is due to take place, to publicly criticise the G7, and issue a call to develop our activities from now on to realise this proposal. In addition, we make the following demands of the G7 governments:
(1) Immediately dissolve the G7 and cancel the holding of the summit in Hiroshima, with the aim of building world stability and peace based solely on discussions and decision-makings at the UN.
(2) President Biden should sincerely acknowledge that the US committed grave crimes against humanity with the indiscriminate mass killing of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombing and the incendiary bombing of Tokyo and many other Japanese cities, towns and villages – and apologise to the victims and their relatives. At the same time, he should clearly acknowledge that, according to Nuremberg Laws, nuclear deterrence (i.e. the possession of nuclear weapons) is a “crime against peace” and the US should immediately abolish nuclear weapons.
(3) Prime Minister Kishida should clearly acknowledge that Japan was responsible for the war of aggression in the Asia-Pacific and the prolongation of that war, which led to the indiscriminate mass killing of the Japanese citizens with US incendiary and atomic bombs. Based on this acknowledgement, he should enhance medical and welfare policies for all victims still living in Japan, South Korea and other countries. At the same time, his government should promptly sign and ratify the Nuclear Weapons Convention.
(4) Prime Minister Kishida should sincerely acknowledge Japan’s responsibility for perpetrating the war of aggression in the Asia-Pacific with the Japanese Imperial Forces. He should apologise to the many victims and their relatives for the atrocious war crimes and human rights violations committed by the Japanese troops and the Japanese government in many places in that region during the war.
(5) The Kishida cabinet should abolish the Japan–US military alliance, stop collaborating with NATO and demand the immediate removal of the US military bases from Okinawa and other parts of Japan. The military alliance between Japan and the US should be replaced by a more humane international relationship based on a truly peaceful and culturally diverse chain of exchanges between the citizens of Japan and the US.
(6) The G7 governments should stop trying to contain Russia, China and North Korea through their military expansion, and instead persistently pursue diplomatic negotiations with the aim of peaceful co-existence with these countries. To this end, the heads of each state and government must also make strenuous efforts to ensure that the Russian military immediately ceases its war of aggression against Ukraine and that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin come to the peace-negotiating table as soon as possible.
(7) The UN Charter clearly states that each country, large or small, has equal rights and that the UN is “founded on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members”. Therefore, the G7 countries that are members of the UN should respect the UN Charter and act with a mindset that “international disputes must be resolved by peaceful means so as not to endanger international peace, security and justice”. At the same time, efforts should be made to amend the UN structures so that they are truly in line with this charter.
(8) The G7 governments must realise their responsibility as the industrialised countries that caused and continue to exacerbate the climate crisis, and work diligently to preserve and develop biodiversity, and to protect the environment. A decarbonised society must be established through the phase-out of nuclear power and minimal use of fossil fuels.
(9) Pakistan, many nations in Africa and other countries of the so-called Global South, are suffering from unprecedented devastation caused by climate change. The financial debts of these countries must be unconditionally cancelled. We need to clearly recognise that this is our grave responsibility to humanity and all other living creatures and plants on this planet.
25 September 2022
Executive Committee of the Citizens’ Rally to Question the G7 Hiroshima Summit
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